DESCRIPTION: Atlantic World History Coordinator

The Philadelphia Reparations Task Force Atlantic World Historian will lead community cohorts and an Atlantic world history committee to accurately chronicle their history, Philadelphia history, and the history of the Atlantic world. The historian will lead a subcommittee in conducting historical research to inform reparations proposals and recommendations for the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force. The coordinator will provide pro bono professional expertise, excellent coordinating, and work with reparations stakeholders in Philadelphia. The coordinator will have experience in the sector, and experience in activism, social justice, grassroots community organizing, or reparatory justice. Task Force coordinator will: 

  • Develop, read, review, and write reports.
  • Coordinate meetings, events, and timelines.
  • Build and maintain partnerships in their sector.
  • Conduct surveys and co-create related reports.
  • Advocate for the descendant group’s self-determination.
  • Develop and manage committees, subcommittees, and stakeholder relationships.
  • Participate in and lead courses, conferences, convenings, fundraising efforts, media and community forums, and public events.

The Historian will coordinate with every Task Force member and supporting their committees and subcommittees with relevant historical research for their studies. The Historian will also conduct and lead research across all subject areas of expertise as well as injuries of slavery, crimes against the humanity of the descendant group, relevant history of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, and financial depositories subject to the Philadelphia’s Slavery Era Business/Corporate Insurance Disclosure and Financial Reparations ordinance.

Historical research will cover several time periods from the colonial era to the twenty-first century, including but not limited to the relationships to Philadelphia Algonquin (Lenni-Lenape, Munsee, Nanticoke, Shawnee, e.t.c.) and indigenous communities, European colonial settlements, the 1737 Walking Purchase, Philadelphia involvement in the slave trade, slavery in Philadelphia, and the development of Philadelphia. The research should also ensure Black, Ancient African, and Indigenous history and heritage education to provide education that directly articulates these groups’ ancestors’ contributions to humanity and society. The historian will capture a history of Black Philadelphia including the existence and evolution of core Black institutions including medical institutions, educational institutions, religious and cultural institutions, businesses, and media.

A general military history of Black Philadelphians must be conducted covering participation in Indigenous American and European wars in the Delaware Valley, the American Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and conscription into twenty first century wars such as the WWI, WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War. This history must include Black soldiers’ experiences with marginalization, as prisoners of war, and mandatory military service. The legacy of this history will be traced to Black soldiers’ access to the G.I. Bill, education and veteran affairs benefits, and shelter.

Research will also include the history and vestiges that segregated public transportation, white flight and redlining, racially restrictive covenants, urban renewal, gentrification and suburbanization, the great migrations, deindustrialization, mass incarceration and the justice system, deindustrialization, minimum wage, the New Deal, Great Society programs, and the direct effects that historic societal institutions, have had on the descendant group.

Necessary Skills and Required Responsibilities

  • Lead original research to explore the topic areas highlighted above to uncover the history of systemic and institutionalized racism in Philadelphia faced by Black people starting with slavery during the colonial era and founding years of the state of Pennsylvania. 
  • Inform the work of the Task Force and provide documentation of the city-sponsored discrimination and harms to Black residents by uncovering historical truths that have often been willfully forgotten. 
  • Collaborate simultaneously with Philadelphia Reparations Task Force members, committee members, academic partners, researchers, subject matter experts, and community organizations, leaders, and reparations stakeholders in researching the harms of slavery and its legacies for Black Philadelphians.
  • Multitask and conduct research on multiple subject matter areas and historical events.
  • Identify archives and record collections to visit for historical research.
  • Study topic areas highlighted above throughout intensive reading of secondary and primary sources including census, data sets, archival records, and manuscripts.
  • Research, collect, and synthesize information from primary and secondary sources into historical narratives and evidence for Task Force reports; integrate this research with public comments and recommendations.
  • Draft historical policy analysis, advocacy materials, and other deliverables.
  • Attend internal Philadelphia ReparationsTask Force meetings, committee meetings, and public community sessions.
  • Coordinate with Task Force Members to ensure seamless integration of policy research with public comments.
  • Assist with the integration of the Task Force’s policy goals, public education, and targeted campaigns.
  • Conduct oral history interviews
  • Exhibit thought leadership and initiative.
  • Have expertise in research.